Posts Tagged ‘Historical Society of Ocean Grove’

Ocean Grove 2012. Print made from a glass plate at the Historical Society of Ocean Grove. Submitted by Darrell Dufresne--HSOG Technical Curator

Ocean Grove 1912. Print made from a glass plate at the Historical Society of Ocean Grove. Submitted by Darrell Dufresne–HSOG Technical Curator


ELLIS MARSALIS  “Christmas Joy.”      Album A New Orleans Christmas

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image supplied by the HOG.

image supplied by the HOG.

The previews are from 9 am-11 am.   The auction is from 11 am to 3 pm.  At the Youth Temple in Ocean Grove.   For more information call 732 -774-1869. See the sale items at the web site  (link below:)

Historical Society link


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Ocean Grove July 4 parade.  Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Ocean Grove July 4 parade. Paul Goldfinger photo ©


26 Lake Avenue, Ocean Grove. 2012 Beersheba Award winner. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

26 Lake Avenue, Ocean Grove. 2012 Beersheba Award winner. Paul Goldfinger photo ©


May 6, 2014


The Historical Society of Ocean Grove is currently seeking nominations for their annual Beersheba Awards. These awards honor homeowners, businesses, groups and individuals who have contributed their time and effort to renovate, restore and/or generate activities that are in keeping with the history and traditions of Ocean Grove.


For years before the first Beersheba Awards Banquet in 1996, the HSOG board was aware of and discussed the many wonderful things that were being done to preserve and restore this unique community that we all enjoy. Individuals, groups, businesses and organizations were all working to restore and preserve Ocean Grove. The idea of acknowledging their efforts was talked about but never came to fruition.


The singular act that finally brought about this event was the efforts of an individual who, not looking for recognition, decided he wanted to restore the old light standard in front of what is now Central Jersey Bank on Main Avenue. The board said, “It’s time.” The Beersheba Awards event was born.


We also invite you to join the Historical Society at a delicious buffet dinner the evening of the awards, where this year’s awards will be presented. If you have a nomination/s please call the museum for a nomination form. The Beersheba Committee will review all the nominations and announce the winners at the Beersheba Awards Dinner, June 16th at 6pm at Starving Artist Restaurant at Day’s. Space is limited so we encourage you to purchase your tickets as early as possible.

AMBER EDWARDS    from Boardwalk Empire:


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CMA Director of Operations Bill Bailey shows photos of storm damage. Ralph delCampo (left" and Dale Whilden look on. Photos by Mary Walton

Camp Meeting Director of Operations Bill Bailey shows photos of storm damage. Ralph delCampo (left) and Dale Whilden look on. Photos by Mary Walton (Left click to see the photos enlarged)

By Charles Layton

A new spirit of good will and cooperation blossomed on Tuesday night, when leaders of the Camp Meeting Association and all of Ocean Grove’s major civic groups met to discuss storm recovery.

It falls to the Camp Meeting, as owner of the beach, to raise money and plan and execute the work of repairing the boardwalk and beach facilities.

However, others have a major stake, and up to now some of them had felt isolated, uninformed and frustrated. Merchants had complained because neighboring towns seemed to be moving ahead with rebuilding plans much faster than Ocean Grove. Other local groups said they wanted to help raise money for the beach and boardwalk, but their members hesitated for fear that donations for storm relief would be commingled with the Camp Meeting’s other funds and activities.

Camp Meeting officials organized Tuesday night’s meeting with those concerns fully in mind. “We’re all in the boat together and we all need to row in the same direction,” said Ralph delCampo, the Camp Meeting’s interim administrator. He and Camp Meeting president Dale Whilden pledged to keep everyone fully informed going forward. They also asked for everyone’s input, including their criticisms. But no criticisms were voiced on Tuesday night.

Those present included leaders of the Home Owners Association, the Historical Society, Ocean Grove United, the Fishing Club, the Chamber of Commerce and the Ocean Grove Beautification Project.

In laying out their plans for this year’s fund-raising campaign, DelCampo and other Camp Meeting officials stressed again and again that funds for the boardwalk and beachfront will be “totally separated” from all other funds. (Contributors can write “Boardwalk & Beach Front” in the memo field of their checks to have the donations routed to that separate account.)

The Camp Meeting officials said the entire beach will be open by Memorial Day and that most of the boardwalk will be operational, as will the beach office, bathrooms and changing rooms. And they discussed engineering issues in considerable detail. Bill Bailey, the Camp Meeting’s director of operations, used aerial photos of the beachfront to explain how different types of dune structures, bulkheads and barriers had functioned during Hurricane Sandy, and which of those might best prevent damage in future storms.

At the end of the meeting, Rich Lepore of the Chamber of Commerce expressed optimism about the summer season. “We’re going to do everything we possibly can do to drive home the fact that Ocean Grove is open,” he said.

Gail Shaffer of the Historical Society suggested that all of the organizations present should state on their websites that the OG beach will be open this summer. Others talked about plans to help with fund raising. Connie Ogden of OG Beautification said “We intend to go full blast” in providing decorative plantings along the boardwalk and elsewhere. Luisa Paster of Ocean Grove United suggested sending news releases to The Coaster on a regular basis.

Camp Meeting development officer Karen Adams began the meeting with an explanation of this year’s fund-raising campaign. She said the Camp Meeting normally needs to raise about $1 million, but this year the need is much greater. The cost of fixing the boardwalk and beachfront is estimated at $3 million, she said. Assuming that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides 75 percent of that amount, the Camp Meeting would need to raise another $750,000. Thornley Chapel is also in need of $500,000 worth of renovation (not related to the hurricane), and $100,000 must be raised for repairs to the storm-damaged auditorium roof. Insurance will cover the rest of the auditorium costs.

Karen Adams (center) describes the fund-raising campaign. Listening are Carol Woidt (left) of OG Beautification and Mary Ellen Tellefsen of the Chamber of Commerce.

Karen Adams (center) describes the fund-raising campaign. Listening are Carol Woidt (left) of OG Beautification and Mary Ellen Tellefsen of the Chamber of Commerce.

Ordinarily, the Camp Meeting would simply put donations for all those projects into a single fund. However, Whilden said, “We fully realize that probably the majority of the community is primarily interested in the boardwalk,” and therefore “there will be no commingling of funds. They’re completely different funds.”

Whilden said the Camp Meeting has already raised $190,000.

Bailey led a technical discussion of beach barriers and dunes. He said the Camp Meeting believes the reason the portion of the boardwalk from the pavilion to Seaview Avenue held up so well was because the dunes along that stretch of beach were constructed on top of a rubble wall buried beneath the sand. This rubble wall had been installed following a 1953 nor’easter. It has performed so well that the Camp Meeting would like to use that same type of structure along the entire length of the beach. However, “ultimately, it’s going to be all about the money,” Bailey said, “and those rubble walls are expensive.”

The Camp Meeting also discovered that a sheet steel bulkhead in front of the boardwalk at the south end had provided good protection there. Engineers have been helping the Camp Meeting study these and other options for rebuilding.

Bailey said the reason Ocean Grove did not announce its rebuilding plans as quickly as other towns was that the Camp Meeting wanted to first determine which structures will best prevent damage in future storms. “We’ve got to get this right,” he said. “We’re investing a lot of money. We’ve got to study it.”

DelCampo said Ocean Grove needs to avoid what happened in Spring Lake, where the boardwalk was damaged by Hurricane Irene in 2011, the town rebuilt it immediately, and then it was destroyed again just one year later by Hurricane Sandy.

According to Bailey, here is what visitors to Ocean Grove can expect by Memorial Day:

  • The beach will be open in its entirety.
  • The south end boardwalk – from the beach office to Bradley Beach — will be restored.
  • From just north of the beach office to just north of McClintock Street the boardwalk will not be in place, but beach access points will be provided.
  • From the pavilion to the north end the boardwalk will be in place.

Still unanswered is the question of access to Asbury Park. As a temporary fix. there may just be an asphalt pathway.

Also, before summer, the Camp Meeting will send volunteer rescue divers out to retrieve submerged offshore debris.

The Camp Meeting officials said they still had no word as to whether FEMA will agree to provide any funds for restoring the boardwalk. Neither do they know when FEMA might announce that decision. For background on that, see this previous story.

Bailey uses aerial photos to illustrate the performance of a boardwalk bulkhead

Bailey points to an aerial photo showing how the beachfront looked before the storm

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Joshua Reinhart (top), Darrell Dufresne (left) and Andrew Nolan preparing to install a drain pipe in the bowl. Reinhart and Nolan are from Ocean Grove Hardware. Photo by Mary Walton

By Mary Walton

Long plagued with drainage problems, Ocean Grove’s oldest and largest historical urn is undergoing much-needed repairs that include a new drainage system.

Ted Bell and Darrell Dufresne, volunteering their efforts for the Historical Society of Ocean Grove, have supervised the work. The cost is being underwritten by a $1,225 matching grant from the Monmouth County Historical Council, based on a proposal written by Bell and Rose Myers.

When town fathers erected the urn in 1875 on the southeast corner of Founders Park, they apparently gave little thought to what would happen when it filled with water. There was no drainage system, said Ted Bell, “as far as we can tell.”

That was corrected in 1995, when interior piping was installed and the urn was refurbished. The solution turned out to be only temporary. The urn filled with water that froze in cold weather, cracking the bowl and ruining the piping. The drainage failure became apparent when the Ocean Grove Beautification Project planted the urn with flowers.  They drowned.

In the new system designed by Dufresne, flexible PEK piping will run from a hole drilled in the bowl of the urn down through the hollow base and out one side. Holes drilled on either side of the crack have halted its spread, and will be invisible when the urn receives a fresh coat of green paint.

To prepare the urn, Dufresne said, it was necessary to remove dead plants, many pounds of dirt and so many marble chips they filled a barrel. The interior  has been scraped free of rust and dirt and painted. Much of the work has been carried out by Ocean Grove Hardware. When the side panel was removed, Bell and Dufresne found two time capsules — red metal boxes — placed there when the urn was rededicated in 1996 following the restoration. They will be returned to the base until some future generation decides it’s time to open them, Bell said. “I’m not going to be around.”

On the scene Monday, Dufresne said that a lot of Grovers had stopped by to offer input. As an engineer by profession, he has often been in the position of receiving friendly advice. That offered by Grovers has been typical. “Most have told me why this wouldn’t work!”

The Historical Society welcomes donations toward Ocean Grove’s share of the matching funds.

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By Kathy Arlt, Contributing Editor   @Blogfinger

Remember this place? It’s the Osborn House, circa 1875.

Around 1882, its name was changed to the Osborne House, and, as I wrote here on Blogfinger on June 30, 2011, it remained a hotel well into the twentieth century. By then it looked like this:

So far so good. The mistake I made was in showing what’s there now. I showed you this:

And I was wrong. But before I show you what really is there now, let me tell you how the mistake was made.

In Ocean Grove’s early days, numerical street addresses weren’t always used. Instead, hotels often gave their location as “On the Ocean,” “Near the Auditorium” or at the intersection of two avenues. As this 1906 advertisement shows, this was also true for the Osborne House.

Well, the Hotel Allenhurst was also on the corner of Pitman and Central Avenues, which is probably how that recent photo of the Allenhurst apartments wound up in the same folder as the original photo of the Osborn House. But, as I continued cataloguing the Historical Society’s collection of hotel photos and other memorabilia, I soon discovered what really replaced the Osborne House. It’s this structure, built by the Camp Meeting Association in 1958.

What happened to the Osborne House remains a mystery. As far as I can tell, it went out of business around 1940, and the lots it occupied were reported to be vacant when the Camp Meeting Association announced its plan to build the Ocean Grove Motor Inn—that is what it was named—in 1957. Was there a fire? Severe storm damage? Did the building go unmaintained for so long that demolition was the only option? I’ve scoured many back issues of the Ocean Grove Times looking for the answer, but turned up nothing. So, if anyone knows, please enlighten me with a comment.

Next time: Moving Day

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By Kathy Arlt, Contributing Writer @Blogfinger

A couple of months ago, after Charles Layton’s report that 35 Embury Avenue would more than likely be torn down, at least one commenter wondered why anyone should care about the loss of such an ugly, architecturally undistinguished building. No gingerbread graces its façade. Its original clapboard exterior was covered in siding at some point in its history. The windows are far from original. But who knows how grand it might have looked when it was built…in 1889?

In the course of archiving the Historical Society’s collection of photographs and documents, I’ve come across many examples of properties that appear vastly different today than when they were built. Sometimes the original structure burned down, and the property owners (or 99-year leaseholders, to be completely accurate) built “modern” homes, complete with driveways and garages. But often the owners just did some extreme remodeling—or “remuddling,” as the Old House Journal dubs itlong before Ocean Grove became a National Historic District and a Board of Architectural Review or Historic Preservation was created.

One example of this is 63 Cookman Avenue, which was originally a hotel called the Lane Villa. The first advertisement I could find for it appeared in the 1905 edition of the Ocean Grove Times.

Here’s an early photo of the Lane Villa:

A somewhat later photo is below. (How much later, unfortunately, is unknown, but based on the height of the trees, my guess would be twenty to thirty years.) As you can see, the hotel’s pennant is missing, the exterior painting appears less ornate, and some of the shutters have been removed.

And here is 63 Cookman today. It’s lost all its gingerbread, the peaked roof over the square turret, its upper porch, all the porch railings—even its collection of grass-strip trees. And oh yes: its covered in siding.

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By Charles Layton

The Historic Preservation Commission seems to have persuaded the Neptune Planning Board to include stronger protections for Ocean Grove in its rewrite of the Master Plan.

But the Ocean Grove Home Owners Association remains at odds with the Planning Board over its own issues, and it appears that a fight between the two groups may be in the offing.

The newly-included language proposed by the HPC stresses the importance of Ocean Grove’s architectural heritage, its emphasis on single-family homes, and such defining characteristics of the town plan as the flared setback on avenues near the ocean.

The Planning Board has been working for months on a total rewrite of the Master Plan, a document that lays out basic goals and guidelines for land use and zoning.

Last week, the HPC passed a resolution expressing concern that the board’s proposed rewrite did not do enough to protect the Grove’s historic heritage. But at a public meeting on Wednesday night, the board revealed that it had inserted into its draft much of the language suggested by the HPC.

Also on Wednesday, the Historical Society of Ocean Grove weighed in for the first time with a letter to the Planning Board, in which it agreed with the issues raised by the HPC and also with a broader range of concerns raised by the Home Owners Association.

While acceding to most of what the HPC had asked for, the Planning Board made no concessions to the Home Owners. Members of the Home Owners board who were present at the meeting came away unhappy with that, and also with the Planning Board’s refusal to allow comment from members of the public.

“This is nonsense,” Home Owners trustee Fran Paladino told me after it was made clear that no one would be allowed to voice concerns or raise questions. The three-hour meeting was taken up by a lengthy report to the Planning Board by its consultant Jennifer Beahm, covering the details of the entire 207-page draft of the proposed new Master Plan.

In a letter delivered on Friday, a committee of the Home Owners had expressed fears that this new plan, as written, would be bad for Ocean Grove. (For full details, read the Home Owners letter here.)

There was no indication on Wednesday night that the Planning Board was in any mood to accommodate the Home Owners’ concerns. Neither did the Home Owners trustees show any willingness to back off, and it seems likely that the issue will be raised at the group’s next membership meeting, which is on September 24.

One of the Home Owners’ chief concerns is a suggestion in the Planning Board’s draft that the Township create a new Land Use Advisory Committee to make decisions as to whether “minor changes that have been found to be di-minimus [sic] in nature can be approved administratively” rather than going to the Zoning Board of Adjustment. The Home Owners committee’s letter said it feared this new bureaucratic layer of authority would “usurp the authority of the existing citizens boards, replacing their judgments with the judgments of various executives of the Township. This would potentially allow for more decisions to be made outside the public’s view, and would be an invitation to more political influence and insider dealing.”

Support for the Home Owners position on this and some other issues appeared to be growing in certain quarters. In its Wednesday letter, the Historical Society made a point of concurring with issues raised by the Home Owners. Gail Shaffer, president of the Historical Society, told me she was especially concerned about the issue of the proposed new advisory committee. Deborah Osepchuk, chairwoman of the HPC, told me she too was concerned about that issue, although she stressed that she was speaking only for herself, not for the HPC, on that matter.

Another major concern of the Home Owners committee is the proposal’s frequent recommendations that various rules on zoning, density limits, the flared setback and other issues important to Ocean Grove be “reviewed,” “redrafted” or “evaluated.” So much “broad language in the Master Plan, urging such sweeping changes, would give present and future administrations too much discretion to make whatever changes they please,” the Home Owners letter said.

The Historical Society’s letter specifically supported the Home Owners on this issue. It spoke of “weakly defined language that urges sweeping changes to the present regulations.”

Osepchuk said she was pleased that the Planning Board had accepted the HPC’s suggestion to put protective language from the old Master Plan into the draft of the new one. “There are marked improvements from what was originally written,” she said, but added that “there is still room for some tweaking.”

One important historical passage from the old Master Plan, which Osepchuk’s commission succeeded in having transplanted into the new one, described Ocean Grove’s physical decline in the 1990s as hotels and rooming houses for summer lodgers gave way to multi-family residences and boarding houses for the indigent. Legal changes since then, prohibiting similar conversions to multi-family residential use, “have limited additional deterioration and facilitated a renaissance of investment in single-family housing, bed and breakfasts and historic hotels,” the restored language says. It continues: “These types of uses are more appropriate to the scale and character of the [historic] district and provide appropriate development that preserves the character of Ocean Grove.” The newly included language also promises “a strong commitment to the protection and preservation of Ocean Grove’s unique town plan, particularly its flared setback, and all properties designated as having architectural and historic significance.”

The HPC considered that language important to protecting Ocean Grove’s status as a National Historic District.

Planning Board Chairman Joseph Shafto said the public would not have a chance to speak before the board until it meets on November 9 for what could be its final consideration of the Master Plan. Between now and November 9, however, anyone who wishes to submit a letter for the board’s consideration may do so, Shafto said.

After the plan is approved, in whatever form, by the Planning Board, the Board and its attorneys would then rewrite the local land use ordinance based on what’s in the new Master Plan. The new ordinance would then be passed into law by the Township Committee.

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